The UN Security Council must demand an immediate end to the escalating attacks on civilians in the Occupied Palestinian Territory and Israel, Islamic Relief says ahead of a crucial Security Council meeting on Sunday. It must also address the injustice and inequality that is at the heart of the situation and call for an end to the Israeli occupation.
The death toll is rising rapidly, and more than a quarter of fatalities and injuries over the past few days are children1.
Hundreds of homes and more than 30 schools have been damaged by the bombing in Gaza so far, as well as factories and health facilities. Airstrikes have damaged the electricity network, so power is only available a few hours a day and is likely to completely run out soon. Water supplies to around 500,000 people have been disrupted as a result.
A ground offensive in Gaza would greatly increase humanitarian suffering and force hundreds of thousands of people to flee their homes, with nowhere safe to go. The blockade – which severely restricts the movement of people and goods in and out of Gaza – means that people are trapped and unable to escape any further escalation.
Muneeb Abu-Ghazaleh, Country Director of Islamic Relief in Gaza, describes the situation overnight:
“This was one of our hardest nights ever. The sound of bombing and screaming is everywhere. Houses are shaking from the bombardment. People are afraid and living in darkness because we have no power. Most people here do not have shelters or anywhere to go when the bombing starts.
“Like many other children, my son has spent the last few nights having panic attacks and unable to sleep because of the bombs. A whole generation has been psychologically affected by the years of blockade and bombing. Children should not have to suffer any more.
“The violence must end, but this escalation is a symptom of the injustice of the occupation and the blockade that blights the lives of the people of Gaza on a daily basis. We want the world to address the root causes, not just the symptoms.”
Islamic Relief condemns all violence against civilians and is calling for an immediate end to the current escalation. International law must be upheld, and civilians and civilian infrastructure must not be targeted.
The blockade represents collective punishment of the people of Gaza and must be lifted immediately, in line with previous UN Security Council Resolution 1860.
All Palestinians and Israelis – regardless of religion or ethnicity – have the right to live in safety and dignity, and to have their fundamental human rights upheld. We believe that this will not be possible until there is an end to the occupation.
1 In Gaza, at least 119 Palestinians, including 31 children, have been killed and more than 830 wounded, according to the Palestinian Ministry of Health. Hundreds more have been injured in the West Bank and East Jerusalem. In Israel, seven people have been killed, including two children, and more than 280 injured, according to the Israel government.
Islamic Relief spokespeople in Gaza are available for interviews